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The existential self: challenging and renegotiating gender identity through higher education in England

Fuller, C. (2018) The existential self: challenging and renegotiating gender identity through higher education in England. Gender and Education, 30 (1). pp. 92-104. ISSN 1360-0516

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/09540253.2016.1241380

Abstract/Summary

This article explores perceptions of the role of education as a potential medium of transformation and a vehicle to challenge and renegotiate symbolic and cultural notions of gender identity. Drawing on data collected at two time points over ten years, it considers four young women from working class backgrounds in England who aspired to and then went on to higher education. It considers their earlier aspiration, their current occupations and how these link to their sense of a gendered self. In doing so it raises important questions about persisting cultural hegemony that promotes equality yet continues to position women as ‘mother’ and ‘homemaker’, leaving those who reject the identity feeling defiant and defensive. It also considers how, on the one, hand higher education can provide the means to renegotiate and redefine who one wants to be, yet on the other, does so at what appears to be the cost of existential angst.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:66631
Publisher:Taylor and Francis

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